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I just moved from a Caldari Cormorant (destroyer) to a Moa (cruiser) and started some level 2 security missions. My preferred play style has been keep my distance and pick enemies off with my railguns, I have fitted my Moa with 250mm railguns. This worked well in the Cormorant, but the Moa is slow and I get swarmed by rogue drones/frigates before I can kill them.

How do I take out small enemies? I don't want to fit small railguns as it defeats the object of having a cruiser, and besides, my Cormorant would do more damage with its seven turrets v the Moa's five. Will drones do the trick, or am I just no supposed to be running level 2 missions in a cruiser?

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Drones will help considerably. Combat drones would attack them for you, or webber drones would slow them down so that you could hit them. –  SaintWacko Jan 28 '13 at 16:05
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I personally prefer the Cormorant over the Moa for pretty much these reasons, I found the Cormorant suited my playstyle better. I've found when playing with a Navy Spec Scorpion that it's not even worth attacking the smaller ships with my big guns, and that releasing the drones is the solution to taking out smaller more agile ships. –  kalina Jan 28 '13 at 16:21
    
The basic principle of EVE Online is "Bigger rarely means Better". Cruisers aren't DESIGNED to kill frigates or small rogue drones. Frigates kill cruisers, cruisers kill destroyers and other cruisers, and destroyers kill frigates. There are exceptions tho. An old corp i was in a while ago had an official fit for Rapier that was made to hunt frigates, but that required some advanced calibration. –  user1337 Jan 28 '13 at 17:28

6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Usually you've got four basic concepts to fight drones and other smaller craft:

  • Drones: Especially for new players, drones are usually the easiest way to fight smaller craft your ship's guns cant hit. However, based on your skills and your enemies, your drones might be too weak to break a small attacker's tank (especially true for Elite Frigates).

  • Avoid Close Quarters: Fight smaller ships before they're able to orbit you. This way even Battleships can take out Frigates or Drones in a single hit. Based on the speed of the enemy, this might be impossible (some Spider Drones fly 5 km/s or faster).

  • Reduce the Enemy's Transversal: Or in other words: slow down his orbiting speed so he's easier to hit. There are basically two possible approaches for this. Either try to web down the enemy (the module is for medium powered slots and called a Stasis Webifier; it will reduce his speed by 50% or more) or try to outrun the enemy (i.e. flying away so he has to follow you, negating his transversal or approaching speed). The latter can be tricky, especially if you're in a slower ships. Fast ships, like most Minmatar ships as well as Faction ships associated with the Angel Cartel really shine when trying this.

  • Try a different weapon system: Don't use artillery weapons, when you know you're going to face lots of close range enemies. Based on ship bonuses, skills, etc. this is not necessarily a real solution though. If you're still new into "kiting" (i.e. outrunning your enemies), you might be better off using close range weapons though (e.g. Autocannons or Blasters). Missiles could be a different option, because they don't require tracking. They will, however, still do less damage against smaller/faster targets.

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A combination of drones and kiting has worked well. I fitted an afterburner to help kite, now only one or two ever manage to get close and my 3 light scout drones easily take care of them. –  Qwerky Jan 29 '13 at 8:45

Drones.

Drones. Drones. Drones.

If you don't have drones already, go get some. If you're flying anything larger than a frigate, you should have at least 5m3 of drone space and a similar amount of bandwidth. Grab some light scout drones and go to town. When you're in a cruiser, a swarm of frigates should not bother you - if you find it does, you may need to train some support skills to increase your tanking ability. The Moa should give you plenty of time to set your drones on them and watch them crumble. With the new AI, I wouldn't bother with t2 drones, but train up the "Drones" Skill to V, the Scout Drone Operation to IV ( or V), then the Interfacing, Durability, Navigation and Sharpshooting to IV.

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I've trained a little in drones, but I don't want to commit too much. I'm now able to use 3 light scout drones and that works well. –  Qwerky Jan 29 '13 at 8:46
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@Qwerky - It's not a bad thing to put SP into. Drones are a good addition to any ship that can carry them, do not use any fitting, are cheap to replace, come in different varieties ( damage dealing, EWAR, logistics ), and are not a long or difficult skill train. –  Phill.Zitt Jan 29 '13 at 15:58

If you're flying a Cruiser, then yes, your main weapons should be used on targets of Cruiser size or larger.
This certainly brings up the question "how do I take out enemy drones and frigates?"
The answer is this: Put some light scout drones in your drone bay, and use them.
The Moa can fit 3.
If that's not enough firepower, then yes, you're bringing a cannon to a knife fight and you might want to go back to your Destroyer till you're into combat missions against larger enemies. Alternatively, a different ship or different armament might be the answer. As a single example, you could always fit a smart bomb and do area-effect damage to all those small orbiting enemies.
In general, it's EVE, the possibilities are endless!

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Yeah, I had a swarming problem too primarly with rouge drones with my Moa setup. A general attack plan mor me is warp in at a distance, drop the drones, and insta-pop the frigates at 26km with the rails. Usually you can get most or all of the frigates before they get to you but if they do, then just equip a 10mn afterburner and you can outrun them. You can also use your drones to start weakening them out to 35km and to help pick off orbiting drones and frigates. I was also thinking about trying to equip a small pulse laser which has great tracking to take them out if your drones are destroyed. One problem with drones and Amarr is that even their crusiers can track and damage your orbiting drones so Drones+Amarr=Disaster.

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With longe range turrets like railguns you have rather bad tracking, anything small that orbits you at close range will be hard to impossible to hit. You have to hit the small stuff first at range, once they are close it will be much more difficult. You should put in short range ammunition with good tracking like Antimatter, but that is likely not enough.

Small drones are very good against frigates, though the Moa can only carry three of them. You need to be careful so that the NPCs don't kill your drones faster than you can recall them, but they should be much better against small ships than your medium guns.

I did level 2 missions in a Light Missile Caracal and it was rather easy, even with minimal skills. Light missiles are pretty good against small ships and don't suffer from tracking issues at short range like railguns. If you have some missile skills I'd try out a Caracal for level 2 missions.

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Moa is one of the slowest cruisers in the Caldari arsenal. Unfortunately, their fastest cruiser ("attack cruiser") is a missile boat: The Caracal. Caldari are primarily a missile based style, where Gallente is more of drone/hybrid style.

The Moa's strength comes in its resistances, if you fit a nice tank on it, you will get swarmed, but can easily tank it all. If you like kiting and picking off at several ranges, I STRONGLY suggest getting into the missile systems of the Caldari, that is where their strength lies.

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Even though you will never get the same sniping range ( or damage, for that matter ) that railguns would get? Missiles are more of a middle distance setup, with some long ranges ( I'm looking at you, Tengu ), but definitely not sniping distances. –  Phill.Zitt Jan 28 '13 at 17:07
    
The Raven can get out to 100km. Caldari missile boats are excellent kiters. Missiles don't have an optimal, so if you can reach them, you can damage them. –  Pyrodante Jan 28 '13 at 17:21
    
Also, with a TP you can hit small things with medium missiles pretty well. I would also think about a web if you are having a ton of troubles, but drones (as mentioned in another answer) is a great solution to small buggers. I was mostly addressing the speed issue. –  Pyrodante Jan 28 '13 at 17:22
    
Except that a single TP still sucks on unbonused ships, and takes up a valuable mid slot that Caldari ships use for tanking. Multiple TPs take up even more mid slots. Fair point on the Raven. My popint was that missiles actually take time to reach their target, and so are not really good for 'sniping'. –  Phill.Zitt Jan 28 '13 at 17:30
    
Missile travel time isn't nearly as big of a deal in missions. The consistency of damage plays a big role. There is a reason why the missile ships (caracle, drake, raven, rattler) are considered the kings of missions (with the obvious exception of the mach). –  Pyrodante Jan 28 '13 at 17:40

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